Normandy welcomes World War II Heroes

By DOD NewsJune 5, 2024

World War II veterans met with cheers and applause from throngs of well-wishers as they arrived in Normandy, France, for events commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Children of France greet Richard Stewart, a WWII veteran, formerly a communications lineman for the 459th Signal Construction Battalion, Air Force, at the Deauville-Normandie airport, Deauville, France while being welcomed for the 80th anniversary of D-Day June 3, 2024. He landed on Omaha Beach in July, 1944 and continued to serve in France, Belgium and Germany providing area communications support for various Army Air Forces commands until the end of the war.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Children of France greet Richard Stewart, a WWII veteran, formerly a communications lineman for the 459th Signal Construction Battalion, Air Force, at the Deauville-Normandie airport, Deauville, France while being welcomed for the 80th anniversary of D-Day June 3, 2024. He landed on Omaha Beach in July, 1944 and continued to serve in France, Belgium and Germany providing area communications support for various Army Air Forces commands until the end of the war. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Isaiah Mount) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Gen. Darryl Williams, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, greets WWII veteran Paul Priest, who fought in WWII with Headquarters Company, 52nd Infantry Division, 9th Armored Division, during the return of veterans for the 80th anniversary of D-Day June 3, 2024, at Deauville-Normandie airport, Deauville, France. On this historic milestone anniversary, we honor the U.S. and Allied service members who heroically went above and beyond to answer the world’s call for defense of liberty and democratic values.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Gen. Darryl Williams, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, greets WWII veteran Paul Priest, who fought in WWII with Headquarters Company, 52nd Infantry Division, 9th Armored Division, during the return of veterans for the 80th anniversary of D-Day June 3, 2024, at Deauville-Normandie airport, Deauville, France. On this historic milestone anniversary, we honor the U.S. and Allied service members who heroically went above and beyond to answer the world’s call for defense of liberty and democratic values. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Isaiah Mount) VIEW ORIGINAL

U.S. service members assigned to commands historically linked to D-Day are in Normandy too, slated to participate in more than 100 events marking the milestone anniversary of June 6, 1944, when allied forces launched the largest air, land and sea military invasion in history.

U.S. Army Soldiers and tourists attend a ceremony overlooking the beach during D-Day anniversary festivities at Omaha Beach Normandy, France., June 2, 2024. The U.S. Army and members from European allied nations are participating in the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, supporting local events across Normandy, from June 1- 10, 2024 to commemorate the selfless actions by all the allies on D-Day that continue to resonate 80 years later.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Soldiers and tourists attend a ceremony overlooking the beach during D-Day anniversary festivities at Omaha Beach Normandy, France., June 2, 2024. The U.S. Army and members from European allied nations are participating in the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, supporting local events across Normandy, from June 1- 10, 2024 to commemorate the selfless actions by all the allies on D-Day that continue to resonate 80 years later. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Keith Thornburgh) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Airmen assigned to the 57th Rescue Squadron jump out of a MC-130J Commando II over Normandy, France, June 2, 2024. Eighty years later, D-Day remains an enduring historic remainder of how the strength of alliance and dedicated resolve to shared ideals proved to be the turning point in the brutal fight against tyranny that spanned three continents and raged on for more than five years.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Airmen assigned to the 57th Rescue Squadron jump out of a MC-130J Commando II over Normandy, France, June 2, 2024. Eighty years later, D-Day remains an enduring historic remainder of how the strength of alliance and dedicated resolve to shared ideals proved to be the turning point in the brutal fight against tyranny that spanned three continents and raged on for more than five years. (Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica Sanchez-Chen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Paratroopers and Colors Guard of the 82nd Airborne Division prepare for a ceremony outside of Mont Saint Michel, France, June 2, 2024. U.S. military personnel commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, widely known as D-Day. Highlighting the Department of Defense's continued commitment to honor the historic significance of D-Day and the sacrifices made, this event connects the strength of the alliance and dedicated resolve required during WWII to NATO, which strengthens the unity today. Participating service members from approximately 25 units are taking part in approximately 120 commemorative events from May 30 to June 10, from approximately 40 French communities throughout the Normandy region -- including a U.S.-hosted ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery on June 6, and a commemorative airborne operation on June 9.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Paratroopers and Colors Guard of the 82nd Airborne Division prepare for a ceremony outside of Mont Saint Michel, France, June 2, 2024. U.S. military personnel commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, widely known as D-Day. Highlighting the Department of Defense's continued commitment to honor the historic significance of D-Day and the sacrifices made, this event connects the strength of the alliance and dedicated resolve required during WWII to NATO, which strengthens the unity today. Participating service members from approximately 25 units are taking part in approximately 120 commemorative events from May 30 to June 10, from approximately 40 French communities throughout the Normandy region -- including a U.S.-hosted ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery on June 6, and a commemorative airborne operation on June 9. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Prim Williams) VIEW ORIGINAL

American and allied nation leaders and dignitaries are expected at many of the commemorative events, to both highlight the strength of the United States' commitment to European security and pay tribute to the heroes who fought for the triumph of liberty over tyranny in World War II.

Richard Stewart, a WWII veteran, formerly a communications lineman for the 459th Signal Construction Battalion, Air Force, is welcomed by Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division Deauville-Normandie airport, Deauville, France, June 3, 2024. Eighty years later, D-Day remains an enduring historic reminder of how the strength of alliance and dedicated resolve to shared ideals proved to be the turning point in the brutal fight against tyranny that spanned three continents and raged on for more than five years.
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Richard Stewart, a WWII veteran, formerly a communications lineman for the 459th Signal Construction Battalion, Air Force, is welcomed by Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division Deauville-Normandie airport, Deauville, France, June 3, 2024. Eighty years later, D-Day remains an enduring historic reminder of how the strength of alliance and dedicated resolve to shared ideals proved to be the turning point in the brutal fight against tyranny that spanned three continents and raged on for more than five years. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Isaiah Mount) VIEW ORIGINAL
WWII veteran Anna Mae Krier waves at the camera during her arrival to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 3, 2024, at Deauville-Normandie Airport, Deauville, France. The arrival of the WWII veterans to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day honored the bravery and sacrifices of WWII veterans, featuring poignant tributes and heartfelt expressions of gratitude from attendees.
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – WWII veteran Anna Mae Krier waves at the camera during her arrival to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 3, 2024, at Deauville-Normandie Airport, Deauville, France. The arrival of the WWII veterans to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day honored the bravery and sacrifices of WWII veterans, featuring poignant tributes and heartfelt expressions of gratitude from attendees. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Cecilia Ochoa) VIEW ORIGINAL
WWII veterans Calvin Shiner and Arlester Brown engage in a conversation during their arrival to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 3, 2024 at Deauville-Normandie Airport, Deauville, France. Veterans arrive to participate in parades, school visits, and ceremonies leadin to the official June 6 commemoration of the D-Day landings by Allied soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Canada, and other nations on five beaches.
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – WWII veterans Calvin Shiner and Arlester Brown engage in a conversation during their arrival to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 3, 2024 at Deauville-Normandie Airport, Deauville, France. Veterans arrive to participate in parades, school visits, and ceremonies leadin to the official June 6 commemoration of the D-Day landings by Allied soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Canada, and other nations on five beaches. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Cecilia Ochoa) VIEW ORIGINAL
WWII veterans make their way through the crowds during their arrival to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 3, 2024, at Deauville-Normandie Airport, Deauville, France. At the WWII veterans' arrival to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, veterans were greeted with emotional tributes, warm applause, and deep gratitude from the gathered crowd, commemorating their extraordinary bravery and sacrifices during World War II.
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – WWII veterans make their way through the crowds during their arrival to Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 3, 2024, at Deauville-Normandie Airport, Deauville, France. At the WWII veterans' arrival to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, veterans were greeted with emotional tributes, warm applause, and deep gratitude from the gathered crowd, commemorating their extraordinary bravery and sacrifices during World War II. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Cecilia Ochoa) VIEW ORIGINAL

The number of these heroes at D-Day anniversary events in Normandy each year is diminishing, but the gratitude and awe for their service and sacrifice endures.

29th Infantry Division Soldiers visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (Cimetière américain de Colleville-sur-Mer), June 2, 2024, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Brig. Gen. Wesley Murray, deputy commanding general- support, 29th Infantry Division placed a wreath to honor their brethren who paid the ultimate sacrifice June 6, 1944. Soldiers assigned to Alpha and Bravo Companies, 116th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Ranger Battalion were part of the first wave of Allied forces to storm Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 29th Infantry Division Soldiers visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (Cimetière américain de Colleville-sur-Mer), June 2, 2024, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Brig. Gen. Wesley Murray, deputy commanding general- support, 29th Infantry Division placed a wreath to honor their brethren who paid the ultimate sacrifice June 6, 1944. Soldiers assigned to Alpha and Bravo Companies, 116th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Ranger Battalion were part of the first wave of Allied forces to storm Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Matt Lyman) VIEW ORIGINAL
Maj. Gen. Joseph DiNonno, commanding general, 29th Infantry Division carries a wreath with Mr. Antoine de Bellaigue, mayor, Vierville-sur-Mer, France, during a remembrance ceremony at the National Guard Monument, June 2, 2024, at Dog Green Beach. DiNonno and Bellaigue offered remarks to a large crowd against the beach and a formation of 29th Infantry Division and 75th Ranger Regiment Soldiers. Soldiers assigned to Alpha and Bravo Companies, 116th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Ranger Battalion were part of the first wave of Allied forces to storm Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. The ceremony concluded with the 29th Infantry Division Band playing the United States National Anthem, French National Anthem and Taps.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Gen. Joseph DiNonno, commanding general, 29th Infantry Division carries a wreath with Mr. Antoine de Bellaigue, mayor, Vierville-sur-Mer, France, during a remembrance ceremony at the National Guard Monument, June 2, 2024, at Dog Green Beach. DiNonno and Bellaigue offered remarks to a large crowd against the beach and a formation of 29th Infantry Division and 75th Ranger Regiment Soldiers. Soldiers assigned to Alpha and Bravo Companies, 116th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Ranger Battalion were part of the first wave of Allied forces to storm Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. The ceremony concluded with the 29th Infantry Division Band playing the United States National Anthem, French National Anthem and Taps. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Matt Lyman) VIEW ORIGINAL